3D printing is helping museums in repatriation and decolonisation efforts
3D printed Dinosaur skull. Image: Ryan Somma, Wikimedia. CC BY 2.0
Currently, there is a discussion taking place over to what degree museums need to reform and “decolonise” away from displaying collections that were gathered or stolen from other countries during the colonial era, in a way that portrays foreign cultures as strange or inferior and other nations as unsuitable possessors of the world’s cultural heritage and knowledge.
One way forward may be found in digital technologies that can enable people to access representations of other cultures in fair, interesting ways, without cultural institutions needing to hold on to controversial artefacts.
For example, with 3D imaging and 3D printing we can produce digital and physical copies of artefacts, allowing visitors to study and interact with them more closely than ever before.